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Feb 20, 2010 07:09 AM

Best sushi in Santa Monica?

Visiting brother-in-law next week, he just moved out from NYC and he loves sushi. Please let me know where to take him.

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  1. Consider Kiriko on Sawtelle and Olympic.

    1. I am from NYC and love sushi too. Is your brother-in-law single!? JK...i have a bf :).

      Anyhoo...I strongly recommend Sushi Roku. It's right across from the ocean. You guys will love it!

      6 Replies
      1. re: sillygoosedown

        I strongly recommend against with Roku. It is vile sushi. Ocean views do not guarantee a decent sushi experience.

        1. re: sillygoosedown

          must respectfully disagree with the recommendation of sushi roku if food quality is important to you

          1. re: westsidegal

            It's been voted best sushi in Los Angeles. You can't even get in without a reservation. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is America!

            1. re: sillygoosedown

              The reason many of us are here on Chowhound is because we like the opinions of other eaters who trust their OWN palates, unswayed by the Zagat and the Yelp lists out there. Cheesecake Factory is on also ranked Zagats, but that doesn't make it Chow-worthy in my book. And neither is Sushi Roku.

              In this part of America, we are very lucky to be able to find good Brazilian feijoada, Egyptian fuul, Malaysian Penang curry, Persian estamboli polo, and Chinese xiaolongbao (and perhaps even 辣小猫睾丸, if you look hard enough), all in the same metropolitan area - Chowhound, not Zagat, helps me with this. That's real eating, in my (American) opinion.

            2. re: westsidegal

              Folks, we had to remove some posts that were critical of other eaters' opinions. Please rate the chow, not the chowhound.

          2. The Hump (at SM airport) $$$$ - Fresh fish, some directly off the plane from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
            Mori (Pico & Gateway) $$$$ - Outstanding if you sit at the sushi bar, but just OK at their tables.
            Kiriko (near Sawtelle & Olympic) $$$ - A perennial Chowhound favorite. Ken-san is awesome.
            Sushi King (on Wilshire) $$ - Close to SM. Decent.
            Sasabune (on Wilshire) $$$ - Omakase. Some people love the warm rice, some people hate it.
            Hide (on Sawtelle) $ - Cheap and solid sushi.

            Echigo $$ - More like Echi-don't-go
            Hara Sushi (on Wilshire) - Meh.

            22 Replies
            1. re: J.L.

              couple of comments on J.L.'s reccomendations:
              1) the per-person-tab at the Hump can well run MORE than the per-person-tab at urasawa.
              2) imho the sushi quality at Hide is far superior to that at Sushi King. that said, the ambiance at Hide is not as good (but the cost at Hide is lower).

              1. re: westsidegal

                Agree with westsidegal on the above...

                1. re: westsidegal

                  hump more expensive than even urasawa? since when.?

                  also is echigo really that bad i haven't been in a few years but it was a decent alternative to nozawa/sasabune a few years back.

                  or would you say echigo and sasabune are both not very good?

                  1. re: kevin

                    Many of the sushi dishes (esp. the Chef's recommended dishes) are $30 each. Other sushi plates generally start at $20 or thereabouts.

                    But I've heard of horror stories with the omakase at The Hump -- e.g. a tab of $1500 for two people with alcohol.

                    Last time I was at Uraswa, dinner was $350 (before tax, tip and alcohol). Closer to $500 with everything added.

                    So, yeah, if you do the math, depending on what you are served that day at The Hump, the per person charge can be significantly higher than Urasawa.

                    1. re: kevin

                      Ipse is right. My last blowout at The Hump ran about $500 pp for our party of 6 at the sushi bar - we had Hokkaido Hairy Crab, and several other "can't-get-in-LA" items... Outstanding meal, though.

                      1. re: J.L.

                        Do you remember what other dishes you can't get in LA, and going to the Hump did you have an awareness going into it that it might cost anywhwere from 350 to 500 per person? And was the quality of your meal for 500 per better than Urasawa

                        1. re: kevin

                          Let's see... It was a business meal, so I had some premium daiginjo sake in my system. Forgive any lapses in my memory.

                          There was the hairy crab, Kagoshima beef (I know, not fish) served on a hot stone, Japanese mountain eggplant (not available in U.S., I'm told), baby Japanese barracuda, uni from Awaji Shima, wild salmon ikura. Whitefish (tiny) in a martini glass, served with a ponzu sauce (still squiggling as it went down the hatch). And the usual suspects: o-toro, anago, kanpachi, etc. etc.

                          Yes, it's fair to say that The Hump that night was as comparable to any visit as I've had to Urasawa.

                          1. re: J.L.

                            that makes sense the kagoshima beef alone would cost probably 100 per person, daingiono another 100 per, and the uni maybe 25 per and you're already at 250, yep, that does make sense i guess.

                      2. re: kevin

                        I actually like Echigo and definitely enjoy it more than Sasabune with the caveat that the atmosphere is lacking. Their monkfish liver preparation is my favorite in town. It is warm rice, however, so if that's not your thing then you won't enjoy it.

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          I certainly agree with you, Molly. Echigo is way better than Sasabune and their monkfish liver is the best I've ever had. (With the possible exception of Sushi Zo).

                          1. re: Bob Brooks

                            How much does Echigo run for the omakase nowadays? Perhaps a return visit is in store. I remember it used to be the cheapest of the omakases around town. And also the lunch special for 12 bucks was quite a deal (it may have been 10 bucks when it just opened though).

                            1. re: kevin

                              Bob, I love the monkfish liver at Zo as well. I just always give the edge to Echigo since it's always such a generous portion.

                              I think the lunch special there is now $13 and while I have to order a few pieces extra if I'm going to be full, I still think it's a good value. Haven't ever done omakase there, so no idea how much it would run. For point of reference, when I ate there about a month ago for dinner a la carte, we ordered enough to be stuffed and I think it came out to around $50-55pp without alcohol or tip.

                    2. re: J.L.

                      I haven't been to HIde b/c I heard it wasn't all that great.

                      I had far better sushi at echigo than at sasabune. They were great in the old location but I will never go back to the new place.

                      1. re: epop

                        What happened at the new location of Sasabune, ? They were assembly line style at both the old mexicatessen location on nebraskasn and sawtelle as well as the newfangled, huge, cavernous new location in the old Todai space on wilshire and bundy.

                        1. re: kevin

                          At the old location I had plenty of fish that was cut to order.

                          Now I feel like I'm at a salad bar and I might as well slap it on there myself.

                          1. re: epop

                            I think you're ri9ght, but i can't remember if it was pre-cut at the old location too.

                            At least at zo it ain't pre-cut, but now thinking about nozawa has always been pre-cut or at least for the past 10 years or so it has.

                            1. re: kevin

                              It was not precut at the old location.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Nozawa isn't charging like Sasabune.

                                1. re: epop

                                  charging? or did you mean pre-cutting?

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    I meant Nozawa costs much less.

                          2. re: epop

                            I didn't scroll down to read this but I wish that I would have. Totally agreed that Echigo is way better than Sasabune. I just can't wrap my head around wanting to pay the price for a set omakase where the sushi is pre-cut and absolutely drenched in sauces.

                          3. re: J.L.

                            i've been to kiriko and sushi king on this list - others on the list i want to try. i thought kiriko was incredible sushi, i am bummed that the time we went we were in a mad rush to get to a concert. i went to sushi king on wilshire; trusted yelp reviews when i was in the area. it was perfect for what i needed. mellow, excellent sushi and i downed 3 sakes that night.

                          4. This is great! Thanks everyone!

                            1 Reply
                            1. I'd highly recommend Nagao. Its at the Santa Monica / Brentwood border on San Vicente & 26th sts, right by the Brentwood country mart. Both the nigiri and the rolls I have had were very good. Casual atmosphere, not so divey/homey as Hide but not so fussy as the temples of sushi.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Senor Popusa

                                How does it compare with Takao in Brentwood?

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  Pretty comparable to Takao. It is a neighborhood sushi place with solid, fresh fish. Not on the level of Mori, for ex.
                                  I'd say the sushi is a bit better than Takao while Takao has slightly better surprises, such as their grilled toro.

                                  1. re: epop

                                    Question about Hara - is it good on its own merit, or does it get points for their 2 for 1 specials I alwas see advertised in their window?

                                  2. re: J.L.

                                    I have found the fish quality at Takao to be as good as anything I've had in town (haven't been to Urasawa or Hump, though). Just be sure to sit at the bar, and inquire about what they have in special. Had fresh octopus sushi last week and it was a game-changer for me.

                                    1. re: daftpunkxl

                                      I second Takao - probably the best cooked dishes on the Westside. Also, Takao does tempura perfectly - not a touch of grease and very very light. Sitting at the sushi bar is a must and if you can sit at Takao's station (far left). One advantage is that you can make a reservation.

                                      Current pics here: